The fact that the Suns lost to the Miami Heat on Saturday, even with Dwyane Wade out due to injury and LeBron James playing through illness, wasn’t by itself cause for concern. But the way the team started, flat once again and failing to score in the game’s first 4:14 on the way to a 9-0 deficit, has head coach Alvin Gentry thinking about making some changes.
Phoenix has been a scrappy team that has fought its way back from large deficits the entire season, but it’s obviously difficult to win games when you have to expend so much energy digging yourself out of double-digit holes.
After seeing his team fall behind early and often in just about every one of the Suns’ first 11 games, Gentry says he’ll be making some lineup changes to try to stop that trend.
From SBNation Arizona:
“We got to stop having the starts we’re having and the only way we can deal with that is that we are going to have to change the line-ups,” Gentry said. “So the next game we play it won’t be the same line-up that you’ve seen. I haven’t decided exactly what I am going to do there, but we’ll do something. We’ll do something.”
As for what that something will be, Gentry has a couple of options.
Luis Scola has been inconsistent defensively, and while his offense has come and gone, his spacing on that end of the floor has hindered the team’s effort there rather than helped it. Jermaine O’Neal might be an option, as would Markieff Morris, who has started to play better recently but has also been inconsistent himself.
A more likely switch could involve shooting guard Jared Dudley, who has yet to find his role with the starters this season with the offense being run through Michael Beasley. Dudley has been solid in the games where the shot attempts were there, so maybe playing with the second unit and being featured a bit more might help him contribute more consistently.
Shannon Brown has provided a consistent offensive spark playing with the reserves, so plugging him in with the starters might give them a little bit more firepower and help the team get away from those painfully slow starts.
Beasley’s position in the rotation isn’t likely to be tinkered with, given the fact that he’s been placed in a primary scoring role and plays somewhat heavy minutes with a combination of personnel. It’s probably best to continue to work with him and hope he finds a measure of consistency rather than dropping him to the second unit.
But at this point in the young season, with winnable games having become losses and the team sitting at 4-7 in the standings, Gentry will have to consider all of his options.